March 12, 2007

This has been a tough time, and it's been a long while since I wrote. I was about to go to the NAMM show for the second day on our Dregs/SMB tour, when my Mom called. I had two choices, to get on the next plane and maybe see my Dad before he died of his brain hemmorhage, or go shake hands and smile for everyone while my Mom processed the sudden loss of her 56 year partner without me.

Janine and I were on the next flight out, dumbfounded that my Dad had just eaten dinner with us before we left on this trip, after he took his normal evening walk with Mom. Just a couple of years ago, I had succeeded in talking them into moving to our place and have really enjoyed having them living next to us. Priceless moments of seeing my Dad reading books to young Cassidy or Shauni. Playing basketball with my boy, Kevin. Getting advice on all things logical and spiritual.

He died with all 3 of his sons and my Mom right there. I couldn't imagine not being there, and if anybody reading this wonders why the last two gigs were cancelled, that's why. The following days are a blur, but I do want to thank all the friends who sent wishes and flowers, and things like that. At his memorial, all 3 pastors from his church gave part of the service. In his short time of being transplanted to the town where I lived, he quickly made friends, whether it be working for charities, preaching sermons when the regular pastors were sick, taking meals to elderly people, or helping older folks with their medicare forms. He loved to help people, and the pastors wanted to point out that it's pretty unusual to have all 3 of them to do a memorial service. Life goes on, but remember to always treat your loved ones as if every day does.

We just played to another fantastic audience in Sicily last night when I found out that Brad Delp died. In a moment of spotlight before Smoke, I managed to play the first minute of "more than a feeling", hoping that people would recognize the connection, and many of them did. Boston was probably biggest in the States, but lots of people around the world know them. I was lucky enough to meet the band, mostly because of my association with Kansas and the fact that Tom Scholz is a super humble, nice guy.. Brad and his wife were very gracious and easy to talk to, and I understand that everybody thought of him as the nicest guy in rock and roll. I think we were even scheduled to perform with Boston, soon........We will definitely miss him.

After I collect my thoughts some more, I'll write more. For now, let me say that the stunning effect of losing your immediate family member have put me out of synch for a little bit. On the positive side, the music I've done with the Dregs, SM Band, and now Purple has been inspiring for me, still. One very memorable point that lifted me out of my depression over Dad was having Rod Morgenstein (our Dregs drummer) invite my son, Kevin and I to see them play a few hours away from our home. To our utter surprise, when Kip Winger walked in the bus right before the set started and invited Kevin to sit in, Kevin didn't hesitate at all to say "Sure!". At the prescribed time at the end of the set, Kev went up, Reb Beach gave him his guitar, John sang and conducted, Kip and Rod locked in with him, and I smiled all the way through the song. They gave him 2 solos, too. Something about watching a teenager reach out and go for a new challenge seemed fitting after experiencing my Father's untimely death. Thanks, Kip, Rod, Reb and John, for giving me that opportunity to smile.. 2007